Was it a freak storm that ripped through Vancouver's historic Stanley Park or just the aftermath of Dana White and the UFC?
I botched it pretty bad with my earlier post about Vancouver -- but thanks to feedback from readers much more informed than I (thanks Emma May and who me), I've now read two Vancouver Sun stories from earlier this month that make me even less confident that the UFC or any regulated MMA will ever return to Vancouver.
From the Vancouver Sun, July 8:
Ongoing insurance and indemnity issues surrounding professional mixed martial arts in the city of Vancouver could well see the two-year trial of regulated MMA pass with only a single professional event having been held, according to Vision Vancouver city council member Dr Kerry Jang and licensing staffer Tom Hammel.
"I think it's possible," said Jang when asked whether the legal issues dogging the sport in Vancouver could see the trial period end with barely any testing having actually taken place.
City assistant director of licensing Tom Hammel confirmed to Sun reporter Jeff Lee Wednesday that it is entirely possible that, during that entire two year trial period, the city won't license any MMA events against which they can study the outcomes.
Said Jang, "We're waiting for reports on the UFC event that just took place. We need to gauge how residents feel in the neighborhood. some people complained that there should be a more visible police presence instead of undercover officers. There was an issue with a beating - unrelated to the UFC, but the perception was there."
The story goes on to outline the ways that the local government has basically made it impossible for local promoters to put on MMA shows with a flurry of catch-22 style government barriers to entry.
Then there's this one from the Vancouver Sun, July 9th:
City council fired the head of the Vancouver Athletic Commission on Thursday after city staff and others complained about his conduct during the recent debate over allowing an Ultimate Fighting Championship event.
Citing a lack of confidence in Mirko Mladenovic, the council appointed Dave Rudberg, a longtime city bureaucrat, to replace him as head of the commission when it reconvenes later this month.
(Mladenovic) said he was aware that staff and others had complained about his conduct, but said that appeared to be an excuse to bounce him from the commission.
"I've been on the board for three terms. I am only into this one four months. What has changed? What has changed is they wanted to kill UFC and I approved it," he said.
So my larger point remains, the UFC's damn the torpedoes approach to getting MMA regulated, is sometimes a net negative that actually sets back the sport. I fear that the second UFC in Germany will be the last.
UPDATE: Thanks to this FanPost from MattParker117 I see that that the UFC is considering going back to Vancouver in 2011 but has not been in contact with local authorities. They might be in for a rude shock, per MMA Weekly:
"We're busy working on our upcoming shows (San Diego, Oakland, Boston, and Indy) and haven't really focused on Vancouver," Marc Ratner, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, told MMAWeekly.com on Friday.
"When we start working on our 2011 schedule we'll contact the City Council and the Commission and see what they need for us to return."
The company has been in recent discussions with other Canadian cities, looking to expand its efforts in the Great White North.
"(We) talked with the Manitoba, Calgary, and Edmonton Commissions last week," said Ratner, who said those municipalities were "absolutely" receptive to running UFC events in their cities.
The UFC also opened offices in Toronto in June, which will likely speed expansion into Canada. There will likely be multiple events in multiple Canadian locations in 2011, whether or not Vancouver is one of them.